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Also Known as
Sarson ka tel, Rai ka tel
The term mustard oil is used for two different oils that are made from mustard seeds: a fatty vegetable oil resulting from pressing the seeds, as well as an essential oil resulting from grinding the seeds, mixing them with water, and extracting the resulting volatile oil by distillation. Mustard oil has a strong smell and a hot nutty taste.
Intensely hot and spicy, mustard oil is central to Indian culture. It is a symbol of spring and renewal. Because of its unique taste and aroma, it is used for frying, seasoning and tempering.
How to Select
• Filtered and refined mustard oil is easily available in the market.
• Mustard oil is sometimes adulterated with argemone oil, which is toxic. So, look for a good brand or buy from a known store, so that there will be no adulteration.
• Check whether it is a nice golden in colour and also aromatic.
• Buy small bottles, as this oil is generally used in small quantities and will last long; plus it goes rancid easily.
• Always check the seal of the bottle before buying, and also verify the use-by date.
• Mustard oil is a traditional favourite in West Bengal where its sharp and pungent flavour is deeply valued.
• This characteristic flavour is also an essential component of many dressings and sauces worldwide.
• The good part is that unlike other spicy flavours, the flavour profile of mustard does not linger; it dissipates fast and leaves little or no after-taste, so it can be used for tempering, seasoning or even frying.
• The essential oil in mustard inhibits the growth of certain yeasts, moulds and bacteria, enabling mustard to function as a natural preservative.
How to Store
Mustard oil is best stored in the refrigerator because it will easily go rancid.
• Mustard oil has a higher proportion of MUFA and is also a rich source of PUFA.
• Mustard oil is suitable for all types of cooking including frying, but should be used along with other cooking oils to reduce the erucic acid content. Erucic acid is a fatty acid that has undesirable effects on health when consumed in large amounts.
• Mustard oil is known to be good for the heart, as it is rich in alpha linolenic acid, which is a source of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, known for giving protection to heart.